Working Hard to Keep the Customer Satisfied
It may be a new year, but there is nothing new about the challenges facing agriculture. It has been a year since the introduction of the single farm payment. We are seeing a transition from a subsidy-dependent industry to one that is driven by the market and this current reform will continue to 2013.
The changes will not be easy. Farmers are keen to supply what the market wants, but they are also constrained by some of the most onerous bureaucracy in the world. These regulations all heap costs on an industry that is struggling to find its feet in this new market-driven world. Keeping the public on side during this time of change is important. They are our customers and we will have to work hard to keep their loyalty to home-produced food.
We need to get across that buying Welsh and British food has much wider ramifications for the countryside. Agriculture doesn't just provide food; it shapes the countryside and drives the rural economy.
Our critics are always quick to spout statistics which marginalise farming's economic importance. But recent research has shown that pounds 11bn of our produce goes into food processing, which is now the largest manufacturing sector in the UK. …